Analysis of the radio tracking data from the Pioneer 10/11 spacecraft at distances between about 20 - 70 AU from the Sun has consistently indicated the presence of an unmodeled, small, constant, Doppler blue shift drift of order 6 \times 10^{-9} Hz/s. After accounting for systematics, this drift can be interpreted as a constant acceleration of a_P= (8.74 \pm 1.33) \times 10^{-8} cm/s^2 directed towards the Sun, or perhaps as a time acceleration of a_t = (2.92 \pm 0.44)\times 10^{-18} s/s^2. Although it is suspected that there is a systematic origin to this anomaly, none has been unambiguously demonstrated. We review the current status of the anomaly, and then point out how the analysis of early data, which was never analyzed in detail, could allow a more clear understanding of the origin of the anomaly, be it a systematic or a manifestation of unsuspected physics. (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas.)

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Also archived at: arXiv:gr-qc/0507052 v2 4 Oct 2005 / The date stated on this paper is incorrect. M.M.N. acknowledges support by the U.S. DOE. The work of J.D.A. was performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.ISSN:1361-6382 Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

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Department, Program, or Center

School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)


RIT – Main Campus